Cyclone Remal Tears Through Bangladesh, Killing at Least 13

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At least 13 people were killed and millions were left without power in Bangladesh after Cyclone Remal, the first tropical storm of the season, hit the country and neighboring eastern India on Sunday.

Remal, which had measured winds of over 70 miles per hour, left a trail of destruction, uprooting trees and damaging power lines throughout the region, officials said.

The storm damaged or destroyed more than 35,000 homes across the coastal areas of Bangladesh, affecting about 3.5 million people, according to officials. More than 13 million people there lost electricity on Monday evening, according to power ministry officials. The South Asian country has a population of 170 million.

The storm also caused power outages and damaged homes in the Indian state of West Bengal.

The storm hit after weeks of intense heat in the region, with temperatures reaching about 104 Fahrenheit, or 40 Celsius. Remal made landfall near Bangladesh’s southern port of Mongla and the neighboring Sagar Islands of India around 9 p.m. on Sunday.

Around a million people were evacuated from Bangladesh’s coastal villages before the storm hit. Most of those villages were flooded, leaving millions of people vulnerable, officials said.

“As Cyclone Remal hits the coastal areas of Bangladesh, over 8.4 million people, including 3.2 million children, are at high health, nutrition, sanitation and safety risks,” Sheldon Yett, a UNICEF representative to Bangladesh, said in a statement.

Bangladesh’s inland capital, Dhaka was hit with heavy rain and strong winds. The storm disrupted flights at Shah Amanat International Airport in southeastern Bangladesh and at Kolkata Airport in India.

By Tuesday, the storm had weakened, but meteorologists in Bangladesh and India warned that heavy rain and strong winds could continue for a few days.

Bangladesh has been hit with several violent storms in recent years. Last May, a severe cyclone, Mocha, hit Bangladesh and Myanmar and left several people dead. The storm caused widespread damage in the sprawling Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, destroying over 3,000 shanties and learning centers made of bamboo slats and plastic tarpaulin.

The Philippines has also seen its first tropical storm of the season. Typhoon Ewiniar hit the island nation early Saturday morning. The Office of Civil Defense reported Monday that there were seven casualties from the storm. The storm had gusts of over 40 miles per hour, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.

Saif Hasnat and Suhasini Raj contributed to reporting.